Not a million miles from Bristol, Southside House puts you in pole position to whisk your kids off to the aquarium, with its sunken ships, shark tank and Bay of Rays. Stay in town for Brunel’s SS Great Britain, the Clifton Suspension Bridge, the Animal Farm Adventure Park, and great museums such as We the Curious and M Shed.
Nearer home, England’s smallest city, Wells, offers a magnificent cathedral, Europe’s oldest residential street and one of the world’s oldest working clocks. Stick around to visit the only factory that still makes Cheddar Cheese in Cheddar and the area’s most spectacular scenery at Cheddar Gorge.
Over in Bath, the American Museum will take you on a journey through the history of America, the Roman Baths will take you back to AD43, and you can wander through the pages of some classic novels at the Jane Austen Centre. Or visit fascinating museums such as No. 1 Royal Crescent and the unique Museum of East Asian Art.
Meet lions, tigers, wolves, koalas, porcupines and sea lions by road, rail, waterway and foot at Longleat Safari Park. Discover a unique underground world at Wet Wellies Caving. Trundle peacefully through the lovely Mendip scenery on the East Somerset Railway. Or just ride the friendly donkeys on the beach at Weston-Super-Mare.
Take four legs over the Mendips at Burcott Riding Centre. Blast clay from the sky at the Mendip Shooting Ground. Drive a roll-caged Land Rover 4×4 or slide sideways off-road in a dune buggy at Xtreme Offroad. Play 18 holes in the shadow of Glastonbury Tor at Wells Golf Club. Or cycle the area’s canal paths with Somerset Bike Hire.
Forage, snap the fungi and watch the deer on a trail through Beacon Hill Woods. Catch common carp, tench, dace and perch at Rode Hill Fishery. Try a little white-water kayaking with Frome Canoe Club. Learn stand-up paddleboarding with Adventure SUP. Or leap into the heated outdoor pools at Shepton Mallet Lido.
Take time out to chill at the Bannatyne spa at Charlton House. Bathe in rooftop spa waters in the centre of beautiful Bath. Visit Wells Cathedral, England’s first Gothic cathedral and home to 300 medieval carvings and the ingenious 14th-century Scissor Arches. Or marvel at the awe-inspiring architecture of Bath Abbey.
Enjoy views of Wiltshire from the summit of Cley Hill. Climb to St Michael’s Tower on Glastonbury Tor – or come in summer for the festival. Explore a fine range of organic English wines, fruit wines, mead, liqueurs and cider at Avalon Vineyard. Wrap up the day in buzzing Bath at Opium Bar, Be at One or The Hideout.